BWW Interviews: Beth Marshall & Rob Winn Anderson About on Original Production ALICE LOST IN WONDERLAND
There are many places throughout the U.S. that are known for creating brand new plays. Orlando is probably not one of the first places that playwriting comes to mind, but it does happen and when it does it is spectacular. ALICE LOST IN WONDERLAND is the newest Beth Marshall Presents, which will make it world premiere on October 18th, right here in Winter Garden, Florida. This is not your typical Alice in Wonderland story. Billed as a whimsical psychological thriller, this production promises to be a version of Alice that has never been seen before. BroadwayWorld chatted with director and producer Beth Marshall, and writer/director, Rob Winn Anderson about the show.
BWW: What was the inspiration for ALICE LOST IN WONDERLAND? Why this story in particular over all others?
Beth: For six years I have been envisioning and considering a version of Alice In Wonderland to be part of my theatrical season. For the past five years The Garden Theatre and I had the notion of having this show as part of our seasons. However, it was not until the 2013-14 season that it made the line-ups for each of us.
I have always had a fixation with dark children stories. Of all the classic children's stories, Alice resonates the most with me largely because I find the original source material like a true piece of art open for many interpretations. Whenever, I have discussed Alice with people, ideas of what the story means, images that stand out to them, script that hits home, varies vastly. This excited me and inspired me to want to share my own take.
The vision first came to me in the form of The Queen (more of a Queen of Spades than Hearts, if you will). I knew I wanted a dark gothic tale, told with a modern take and aesthetic from the point of view of a strong female voice and giving integrity to the original source materials, as well as, all the images my imagination conjured up from the books, poems, songs, movies etc... that have been Lewis Carroll written or inspired.
I have worked with Rob Winn Anderson in past BMP seasons as both a director and writer. Having a very clear understanding of his writing style, direction and work ethic, I felt confident that he was the best person to execute my my visions. I asked him (or rather told him) he was hired in Feb. 2013. 25 rewrites later, we are HERE!
Rob: Beth had the initial vision of doing a darker version of Alice. I became intrigued with the idea of exploring a mental illness theme influenced by the book. The story evolved from there.
BWW: From the production photos, this story looks very dark (compared to the Disney version), what should the audience expect and how different is it from other versions?
ROB & BETH: The audience should expect a stellar cast, and a show with top notch production values. Our hope is that they are drawn into the story. That they appreciate the intensity of the drama, and the absurdity of the comedy and leave the theatre feeling moved, entertained and a bit haunted and grateful for being the first to see our world premiere.
BWW: The great thing about an original production is that you have complete freedom. What are some of your favorite things that audiences should be looking out for when they see ALICE LOST IN WONDERLAND?
Rob: The set. The costumes. The lighting! The connection between the patients in the asylum, and their Wonderland counterparts.
Beth: My favorite line in the play (which is now tattooed on my body) is "Even Nonsense Has Sense In it." And really- that line is the economy of words of my initial vision, my feelings through the rehearsal process, and the line that best represents the marriage of the worlds of the mental asylum and Wonderland.
I also think it's pretty darn cool how many elements of this production are originally hand made from costumes, set details, devices, props, door knobs, masks, playing cards, cat trees, mushrooms ...the list is LOOONNNGGG!
BWW: ALICE LOST IN WONDERLAND was written and directed by Rob Winn Anderson, what are some of the challenges with directing a play that written by the director? At what point do you consider it "done"?